Who Lives in the Neighbourhood you are buying into

Who Lives in the Neighbourhood you are buying into

Who Lives in the Neighbourhood you are buying in

Buyers always want to know who their neighbours will be. While you can certainly get a sense of who they are from the demeanour of people on the street, and the care taken with houses and gardens, even from the cars and bicycles parked in driveways and curb-side, it is nice to have more information. In Toronto you can download ward profiles from the city website. This is a great tool that I use for educating clients about new neighbourhoods that they are considering. But a quick litmus test for a home is to use this tool from Environics that profiles the community in our quick postal code search. 


Michael Schuman Talks About the Value of Community Investment

In Michael's book The SmallMart Revolution and its successor Local Dollars, Local Sense talk about the value and power of local business. His message relates to Real Estate in two important ways: the quality of your life is related to the quality of amenities provided by local business in your community; the value of your real estate is related to the quality and qulaities of the local businesses. In urban neighbourhoods this conveys as local coffee culture, local food culture, and local beer culture. A home located close to a perfect coffee pour will be positively influenced, compare that to the value of a home located close to a money exchange/pawn shop. Shopping locally helps home owners build value. Its like investing in the quality of your neighbourhood.


An open criticism of FORD Nation and the Status Quo

In the fight to preserve the 50+ year convention of getting around in a gas powered vehicle Ford Nation will eternally fail to achieve its goal. Simply asphalt is costly and space is limited. Every time a commuter chooses to take a bike or a bus instead of driving the CAR WINS. It may seem an emasculated approach to urban politics but the war for the car begins with vigorous investment in providing commuters with alternatives. The advantage to Gravy Train advocates is that the cost of keeping the roads in reasonable working order goes down, as the need for lane expansion and resurfacing is stabilized and reduced, we all share in the gravy savings. Sensible transportation thinking begins at home, where you make your own location and mobility choices, but the city has an influential role to play and it is a progressive new messaging that will pave the way.


Local Food Loves Craft Beer

Many years ago when I was 20 my love of local food, and my passion for high quality craft brewed beer were being formed. I was a partner in a catering company and had been exposed to the inner workings of some of Toronto’s most prominent kitchens including Mark McEwan’s Pronto Ristornate. It was in the kitchen of Pronto that I was first exposed to the whole animal approach to menu development. I watched with interest as he and his team butchered a Lamb into the sought after Pronto mainstay of lamb sausages while carefully separating the rack from the torso, his team said the ‘key to both culinary experience and restaurant profitability is finding ways to use the whole animal’. When I attended a half day cooking workshop at Michael Stadtlander’s farm 13 years ago the completeness of use of both food and waste was prominent. I am delighted to see that the ideals of leaders in the local food movement have come to the fore of popular culture along with the availability of local craft brews.

While my love of local food was culminating I was enamoured by the diversity of flavour present in craft brewed beer. There were very few key players in this burgeoning industry. Upper Canada brewery was one of those few taking on the monopoly of Molson and Labatt on the shelves of the Beer store. My response to the lack of product available was to start brewing my own beer. I loved Toronto brew pub C’est What’s fantastic Coffee Porter, so I began roasting my own grains to include in adaptive recipes pushing past the available options at my UBrew. I played with recipes for personal enjoyment and convivial sharing with friends, emulating flavours found elsewhere.

Today, my passion for food and beer continues. It is common for me to turn down a spectacular wine experience in favour of local craft beer. I am the annoying customer who gives bartenders a lecture about local beer when craft options are unavailable, before ordering a locally produced wine instead. Today in Toronto I can find local food relatively abundantly at my local farmer’s markets and leading retail grocers like Fiesta Farms. When I enter the LCBO the selection of local craft brewed beers is substantial. Some of my favorites include Mill St. Coffee Porter and Tankhouse Ale, Steamwhistle’s Pilsner, Nickel Brook’s Cream Ale, Dennison Weis Beer, Beau’s Lugtread Lager, Wellington’s SPA and I especially love to see short run productions of seasonal beers on local taps.

Toronto has become home to Brewer’s Plate bringing together local food production causes, local celebrity chefs, and some of my favorite brewmasters. Legends Jamie Kennedy and Brad Long along with other prominent chefs pair local food with local craft brew at this outstanding event. The Beneficiary of last year’s event was my favorite local food startup, Not Far From The Tree. Laura Reinsorough the founder of the program is a gracious and endearing leader who’s strength is most evident in the reputation she has with her community of funding partners, volunteers and collaborators. If you are looking to get in touch with these convergent movements of local craft beer and local food take a look at the Ontario Craft Brewers Association and Local Food Plus as starting points in your discovery of local convivial flavour. See you tonight at Brewers Plate.